2021 INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING LEAGUE – SEASON 3, MATCH 15 – PLAYOFFS MATCH 4
- Saturday, November 13th – Sunday, November 14th
- 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm local time; 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST
- Pieter van den Hoogenband Zwemstadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands
- Short Course Meters (25m – SCM) Format
- ISL Season 3 Schedules, Start Times, & More
- Teams Competing: Cali Condors, London Roar, LA Current, Iron
In Match 2 of 2021 ISL playoffs, the LA Current pulled off a surprising upset victory, toppling the London Roar and also taking down the Toronto Titans, two teams that out-ranked them following the conclusion of the regular season in Naples.
This weekend, LA faces London again as well as season 2 champions the Cali Condors. While Iron is here as it would be a huge upset for them to place higher than 4th. The Condors should be the favorites going into this match, making the battle for 2nd an exciting contest between London and LA.
- Match 1 – November 11-12: #1 Energy Standard, #2 Cali Condors, #7 DC Trident, #8 Iron
- Match 2 – November 13-14 #3 London Roar, #4 Toronto Titans, #5 LA Current, #6 Aqua Centurion
- Match 3 – November 18-19 – #1 Energy Standard, #4 Toronto Titans, #6 Aqua Centurions, #7 DC Trident
- Match 4 – November 20-21 – #2 Cali Condors, #3 London Roar, #5 LA Current, #8 Iron
- Match 5 – November 25-26 – #1 Energy Standard, #3 London Roar, #5 LA Current, #7 DC Trident
- Match 6 – November 27-28 – #2 Cali Condors, #4 Toronto Titans, #6 Aqua Centurions, #8 Iron
TEAM PLAYOFF ROSTERS
With no indication that Caeleb Dressel has returned to ISL competition, this weekend’s men’s butterfly races favor LA Current’s Tom Shields. Shields will get heavy pressure from Iron’s Nicholas Santos and Thom de Boer in the 50 fly, as well as from Luiz Altamir Melo in the 200 fly, though he should be the favorite in the 100 and 200. Coleman Stewart could step in for Dressel for the Condors with Eddie Wang taking on the 200 fly, while LA’s Tomoe Hvas or Maxime Rooney will likely play supporting roles to Shields. The London Roar, meanwhile, calls upon Vini Lanza and Teppei Morimoto on the men’s side, great competitors each, though perhaps overshadowed by the likes of Shields and Santos. The women’s fly races will be just as exciting with showdowns between Kelsi Dahlia and Erika Brown of the Condors, Emma McKeon and Marie Wattel of London, and Ranomi Kromowidjojo and Emilie Beckmann of Iron. All of the women mentioned, however, favor the 50 and 100 with the sole exception of Dahlia, who is also world-class in the 200 fly. Dahlia’s only real competition in the 200 fly is likely to come from London’s Ilaria Bianchi or LA’s Helena Gasson.
In backstroke, we once again see Ryan Murphy representing the LA Current, making for a tentative favorite across all three distances. Murphy will face off with Cali’s Coleman Stewart for the first time in ISL competition since the league final last year. Stewart, now the World Record holder in the 100 SCM backstroke, has become the man with the target on his back, though Murphy as the 4-time Olympic champion looms large over all competitors. Justin Ress could help Stewart in the 50 and 100 backstrokes, but Cali’s somewhat lacking in the men’s 200 back beyond Stewart. London’s Guilherme Guido, Luke Greenbank, and Christian Diener cover all the bases on the men’s side, and it would not be a surprise to see Guido or Greenbank get to the wall first in either the 50 or 100 (Guido), or even the 200 (Greenbank). Iron will have a tougher time in men’s backstroke and will need some big swims from Robert Glinta, Lorenzo Mora, and Guilherme Basseto, but Glinta has had a great season so far and could put substantial points on the boar.
Women’s backstroke will be a great battle between Minna Atherton and Kira Toussaint from London, Beata Nelson, Olivia Smoliga, and Sherridon Dressel from the Condors, and Ingrid Wilm from the LA Current. Nelson, Atherton, and Wilm are probably the most versatile female backstrokers competing this weekend with the ability to win all three distances, though with such a stacked field, sweeping the backstrokes is unlikely for any of them. Iron’s female backstroke contingent is a bit lacking and will require big swims from Melanie Henique, Silvia Scalia, or Africa Zamorano if they’re to see any points from these events.
The Cali Condors bring a stacked group of female breaststroke specialists including Lilly King, Molly Hannis, and Emily Escobedo, while London counters with equally as impressive Annie Lazor and Alia Atkinson. Iron’s Ida Hulkko has had a pretty good season but will need to raise her game to match the likes of the crews from the ‘Dors and London, while LA brings in Imogen Clark and Kotryna Teterevkova. In Naples, women’s breaststroke seemed an Achilles’ heel for LA, but in the playoffs, they have turned it into a minor strength. The men’s breaststroke events this weekend present no clear favorites for victories. Perhaps Iron’s Emre Sakci has an edge in the 50 and 100, despite not having a great regular season. Cali’s Nic Fink could be the favorite in the 200, and Oleg Kostin should also make some noise. Meanwhile, London will need big swims from Ross Murdoch and Sam Williamson to see any significant points here. Similarly, LA’s male breaststroke roster is in dire straights and will need Christopher Rothbauer to step up significantly if they’re to do anything here.
The London Roar boasts perhaps the most well-rounded freestyle roster for both men and women of the four teams competing this weekend. Kyle Chalmers, Duncan Scott, Dylan Carter, Emma McKeon, and Marie Wattel cover the sprints, while Freya Anderson, Tom Dean, Ed Mildred, Zac Incerti, and Scott again cover middle-distance. The LA Current probably boasts the second-best freestyle roster with Abbey Weitzeil, Madison Wilson, Valentine Dumont, Maxime Rooney, Brett Pinfold, Fernando Scheffer, and Breno Correia. London and LA hit both the Condors and Iron especially hard in the middle-distance freestyles, an area where both teams have been sorely lacking this season. The Condors will rely on Erika Brown, Katerine Savard, Olivia Smoliga, Townley Haas, Justin Ress, and Kacper Majchrzak to reel in their freestyle points, unless Dressel makes a surprise appearance. Oddly, Haas and the men’s 200/400 may represent the Condors’ best bet for major points in this weekend’s freestyle races, a reversal of the trends we’ve seen so far this season from the Condors, who have been sprint-heavy. Finally, Iron brings in top-end sprinters Thom de Boer and Ranomi Kromowidjojo. Beyond the sprints, however, Iron’s best hope for points in middle-distance will come from Barbora Seemanova, who had a pretty good regular season, and Luiz Altamir Melo, both solid but unlikely to win an event.
The IM is, all together, probably the weakest discipline on display this weekend. If Duncan Scott swims either the 200 or 400 IM for London, he is probably the favorite to win, while Vini Lanza could also put some big points on the board. London’s female IM roster is pretty much just Sydney Pickrem and Katie Shanahan, who together are capable of big points, though their records this season could best be described as hit-or-miss. Beryl Gastaldello, Anastasia Gorbenko, Helena Gasson, Tomoe Hvas, and Abrahm DeVine comprise the IM squad from the LA Current, though this crew largely favors the 100 and 200 distances and is unlikely to do anything significant in the 400. The Condors, meanwhile, bring in Beata Nelson, Kathrin Demler, Marcin Cieslak, and Mark Szaranek. Like LA, this team much favors the 100 and 200, though Nelson has proven capable in the 400 as well this ISL season. Finally, Iron has Leonardo Santos, Marco Orsi, Erik Persson, Maria Ugolkova, and Africa Zamorano. Collectively, Iron covers all three IM races pretty well, though their swimmers are unlikely to win any of them.
Finally, the relays will be a three-way battle between London, Cali, and LA for the most overall points. Cali has extreme depth in the medley relays, even without Dressel, though London might have the best group of male 100 freestylers in the league this season, perhaps just behind Energy Standard. LA can also create formidable freestyle and medley relays, and it wouldn’t be wholly surprising to see them pick up a relay victory or two. Iron, on the other hand, can probably assemble some strong ‘A’ relays but is lacking the ability to cobble together competitive ‘B’ relays, therefore weakening their position relative to the other teams.
Projected Team Placings
- Cali Condors
- London Roar
- LA Current
The Cali Condors are the slight favorites to win this match, despite having lost once in the regular season to the London Roar. We’ll give Roar the edge of the Current this time, though LA did prove us wrong last week when we made the same prediction. Iron, however, is clearly going to get 4th, though they should still spice up a lot of this weekend’s races, especially sprint fly and free, as well as backstroke.